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Is Early Orthodontic Treatment Necessary?

by Emily Taylor(more info)

listed in dentistry, originally published in issue 245 - April 2018


Are you worried about your children’s oral health and orthodontic treatment?

Little Girl Lying in Grass

Photo Credit: Stock Unlimited

You are right in worrying so as early orthodontic treatment is important as this is the time when your children’s jaws are still growing. The early orthodontic treatment allows your family dentist to keep track of your child’s oral health as well as to prescribe orthodontic treatment for any orthodontic problems that may be faced in future.

The American Association of Orthodontics (AAO) advises that all children should start getting oral screenings from the age of 7 years as their permanent teeth usually start to erupt then. It is a good time to have your child’s oral health checked as their bones are still growing and treatment at this time can yield much more positive results.

What is Early Orthodontic Treatment?

This is also known as Phase One and normally begins when a child is around 8 or 9 years of age. This treatment is used to correct oral problems such as setting a natural growth pattern of your child’s jaw as well as correcting his underbite. This also helps lay a proper foundation with equal spacing for your child’s permanent teeth.

Indications of Early Treatment

There are a lot of ways to find out if your child needs early orthodontic treatment. If you happen to observe any of these behaviors, then you should consider scheduling an appointment with your orthodontist for a proper assessment:

  • Early loss of baby teeth (before the age of 5);
  • If your child’s teeth don’t meet properly when he bites;
  • Breathing through the mouth or snoring;
  • If your child’s teeth are cramped before the age of 5;
  • If their front teeth are jutting out;
  • Struggles with biting and chewing;
  • Has a speech impediment;
  • If your child’s jaw shifts on opening closing his mouth;
  • If your child is over the age of five and still sucks on his thumb or finger.

4 Benefits of Early Orthodontic Treatment

  1. Helps to Correct Crooked Teeth Problem
    Early orthodontic treatment corrects any existing crooked teeth as well as preventing any teeth from growing out of alignment.
  2. Helps to Treat Orthodontic Problems
    Orthodontic treatment in young children is helpful in treating other orthodontic problems like underbites, crossbites, overbites, crowding and spacing. This is helpful in making long term improvements to your child’s bite and teeth.
  3. Helps to Improve Self Esteem
    Children who develop dental problem from a young age can suffer from low self-esteem issues. Undergoing early orthodontic treatment can prevent all this and give your child the confidence and smile they need.
  4. Helps to Eliminate Future Orthodontic Treatments
    Early orthodontic treatment is aimed at fixing dental problems that were developed at a younger age to prevent any further dental corrections in future. Early orthodontic treatment will give your child a healthy life which is not plagued by tooth decay, periodontal disease and other oral conditions.

4 Orthodontic Treatments that Can Benefit Your Children

  1. Palatal Expansion
    Early expansion helps to fix your child’s crossbites, opening up more space for his teeth to grow properly. This is particularly helpful for teeth that may not erupt properly or are likely to erupt in a very crooked way. Lower jaw shifts are detrimental to self-esteem and can cause the lower jaw to grow to one side.
  2. Maxillary Protraction
    Underbites are usually caused by the upper jaw not growing as it should, but the maxillary bones in children are easy to reshape and correct your child’s bite and profile.
  3. Partial Braces
    Partial braces can be applied on the front four teeth of your child in the age range of 7-9 years if they happen to be crowded. The front teeth can be straightened in about 3-6 months which will improve your child’s facial appearance as well as allowing the rest of his teeth to erupt properly.
  4. Space Maintenance
    Space maintainers are great at passively assisting in the eruption of your child’s teeth and forcing them to erupt in a much straighter way.

Early orthodontic treatment will help in improving your child’s natural smile as well as boosting his self-esteem and laying the foundation for a healthy and well-functioning mouth when they grow into adults.


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About Emily Taylor

Emily Taylor found the perfect fit for herself as the Online Marketing Manager at Thurman Orthodontics in Fresno CA as she believes that a great smile does more than just make a person look great – it makes them feel great as well. The power of a smile has always been a mystery to Emily and she loves researching and writing about it. She loves to write about everything to do with a healthy bite and a beautiful smile - whether is it ways to achieve it or the importance of it in the various aspects of life. What brings a big smile on Emily’s face is her family and surfing. She also likes to bake and her children and co-workers call her the cookie fairy! She may be contacted via

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